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Does Divorce Scar Kids for Life?

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In part two of our two-part series, Should You Stay Together for the Kids?, we find out how kids really feel about divorce--40% of them strongly suspect that an affair was the reason! Plus, our expert reveals how a parents' divorce will affect a child's future relationships. Then, see our exclusive video of seven kids--from 6 to 19--who tell us what's really happening with them when parents split.

Yesterday, we told you about how parents feel about it's the kids' turn. They say:

• Don't stay together for oursake.

63% of adults who were children of divorce said their parents should have gotten divorced.

Divorce = affair.

41% believe an affair was the reason for their parents' divorce, although only 20% were actually told that for sure.

Just because I'm grown doesn't mean I'm over it.

53% say they are still extremely traumatized, significantly upset, or upset about their parents' split. While1 out of 3 children of divorce (32%) still "have trouble accepting" or "can't accept" the divorce.

Your divorce will affect my future marriage, and make me settle and compromise.

More than 1 out of 3 adults (35%) who were children of divorce say they accept things that they think are wrong in their own marriages because they don't want their kids to experience divorce.

Family therapist Shannon Fox weighs in on our survey results:

"I found it particularly interesting that one out of three adults who were children of divorce say they accept things that they think are wrong in their own marriages because they don't want their kids to experience divorce," she says. "Children of divorce are less likely to marry and more likely to divorce if they do. 35% of these children of divorce are doing their best to protect their children from the pain of divorce. "

"Unfortunately, many if not most children of divorce did not grow up learning how to communicate effectively, resolve differences, and work through the tough stuff in marriage," she continues. "Instead of accepting or ignoring the things that are wrong in their marriage, they need to take active steps to fix what is wrong."

Check out our exclusive video and hear real kids sound off about divorce on page 2.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
red August 22, 2008, 7:18 PM

I can remember WISHING my parents would get a divorce. I hated their fighting. 46 years later they are still fighting and still married, but I don’t have to live there.

a. August 22, 2008, 8:07 PM

my parents divorced when I was three. I only remember one fight that stood out in any way. it was about me, too. shortly after that they were planning the divorce and I thought it was my fault. then again, what kid doesn’t? I missed having a dad around. my mom re-married when I was 8.5 but it wasn’t the same. he wasn’t my dad.

Anna August 23, 2008, 1:21 AM

I was kind of young at the time and my parents didin’t tell me the whole story behind it for the reason that they did not want to put me in the middle, in the end they still were very hostile towards each other.
To be honest I blame both my parents for the divorce, both of them have difficult personalities to live with.
all in all though,
I actually think the divorce was a good thing because now I have a very strong instinct with men and I am amazing at picking out jerks with only a few conversations. All the men who get my my radars are really nice guys and I get along with great.

Sandi August 25, 2008, 11:46 AM

I am a child of divorce, I was very young when my parents divorced and I didn’t think it affected me until I later was ready to go through a divorce. I had stayed in my marriage because I thought that’s the way that relationships worked, I never believed in ‘true love’ and ‘happily ever after’ because I had never experienced that.

I got divorced when I finally realized that my children were learning the exact same thing that I had thought all of my life. I took a hard look around and I saw that there were people were out there who had that ‘happily ever after’ marriage and ‘true love’…I didn’t kow if I’d find it, but I wanted my kids to know that what their dad and I had was not what it was supposed to be…

I have come to learn that my ex and I did it the right way, if there is such a thing…we do not bad mouth each other, we talk daily, we share custody and we are good friends. We approach dicipline the same, we approach parties together, we go to school functions together. I did find my true love and I know realize it’s out there and I hope that my children learn from my husband and I’s relationship the way it is supposed to be…

I will say the biggest thing is that, while we were going through our divorce, my ex husband and I talked freely with our children. We were honest with them and answered all of their questions. We also talked freely with each other in front of them…we didn’t have a messy divorce so we didn’t really have a lot to talk about that in front of them, but we talked about the kids’ day, how his work was going how our new apartment was, etc…we let them know that we were still their parents-together. I also let my kids see me cry…they needed to know that it was a sad time and that it was perfectly ok for them to be sad about it…even though we probably had the easiest divorce in history, it was sad and confusing and we needed to validate our kids’ feelings…

Will my kids be confused and affected by the divorce…you bet, they are going to be affected by every decision I make…I just hope and we all work (all 4 of us as I am remarried and my ex is as close to being remarried as he will ever be)…together and show them that they can have any kind of relationship they desire and we will all be there for them at every turn and every question…

patti August 25, 2008, 1:41 PM

I just want to comment on divorce parnets. My step kids still blame their father for the divorce when the mother had the affair.

Erika August 30, 2008, 11:52 PM


latosha September 2, 2008, 12:40 PM

well, i’ve been married for 7 yrs on sept. 20th, and i’m thinking strongly on a divorce. we have 3 beatiful boys, 5-6-and 8. iknow they need a father figure in their lives, but he don’t pay them any attention, he always focus on me and all the things that he proclaim that i am doing wrong in the household. he is military, and barely here, so he really don’t know what’s going on here, but yet he trys to hadle things from afar when i am well able to handle them here. he argues with me and over the smallest things like he wants to patch the roof where it is leaking, but i say we should wait until the hurricane hanna comes, then get the whole roof done incase it is more extensive than we think, and he has the money to do it. also, i never know how much money he is going to give me a month, so i can’t plan to do thing for the kids, like buy them new shoes, or take them somewhere for entertainment. my kids, and i are suffering in this relationship. so if anyone have a better suggestion, please email me and let me know.

Blue September 8, 2008, 10:16 AM

Divorce does not impact kids unless the parents allow it to.

Sarah  March 23, 2009, 6:16 PM

I am 27 years old. My parents divorced when I was 8. I have never been able to cope with their divorce more so that I am older and see some of the affects that it has had on me later in life. The one thing that I have learned is that marriage is sacred and people should not take part in marriage if they can’t stand by their own vows…

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